Album Review: CHRIS by Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams continues to defy the expectations of the “cancel culture” crowd, who thought he would just disappear after his reputation was all but destroyed. Accused of basically failing to uphold his end of a tit-for-tat bargain in which he was supposed to help the careers of women musicians, wherein Mandy Moore and Phoebe Bridgers whine that their albums were not produced by the then superstar Adams, the music industry decided to ditch one of the most talented songwriters of this generation. But Ryan Adams refuses to be forgotten.
When the scandal hit, Ryan had just announced that he planned to release three albums in one year, a feat that he had done once before, during the height of his prolific era with The Cardinals. Those three albums, Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, and 29 (under just his name), remain to fans as some of his most stunning work. For me, Cold Roses is my favorite album of all time, and my memories of seeing him perform live during that tour remain some of the most euphoric musical experiences of my life. So, you can imagine that him trying to replicate this feat was exciting news to his fans. But, these plans were indefinitely postponed, as he was dropped by his label, lost his Fender guitar sponsorship, and seemed to be assumed guilty of the worst of accusations, where there was very little but accusation of what amounted to some bad behavior and imperfection.
Despite all this, Adams went ahead with the release of Wednesdays in 2020, and then Big Colors in 2021, releasing them on his own. He held onto the third album of his planned trilogy, hoping a label would swoop in and help him distribute it. Slowly, with the success of Wednesdays (one of his best albums) and then Big Colors, he seemed to climb back into good standing. He continued to rebuild his reputation, spending time doing live shows on Instagram, and communicating directly with his fans. There was talk that he was in negotiations with a label, but it is unknown if that went anywhere.
Now, Ryan Adams is set to perform some live shows for the first time since the smear campaign derailed his momentum, with a sold out show at Carnegie Hall, and another at Beacon Theater, and one more show in Boston’s Boch Center, all in May. Maybe trying to…